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Alessandro Michele Denies Ripping Off the Concept for Those Gucci Alien Ads

Last week, Central Saint Martins BA student Pierre-Louis Auvray took to Instagram to call out Gucci’s alien-filled Fall 2017 campaign teasers, which he claims are “a blatant rip-off” of his work. (One of Auvray’s recent collections was also shown on models wearing disturbing, otherworldly disguises.)

An account run by Auvray’s peers at Central Saint Martins invited others to comment on the matter, posting an image of Auvray’s work side-by-side with a still from the Glen Luchford-lensed Gucci campaign. “Look at both accounts and write below what you make of this. Wherever your influences come from, it is vital to credit. Young emerging designers and artists only have their ideas to trade,” read the caption.

In an exclusive interview with Business of Fashion, given on Sunday, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele denied the copycat claims. “It’s not true,” he told the publication, explaining that he hadn’t seen Auvray’s work until the allegations surfaced. “It’s something that makes me feel really sad. People build a story around nothing.”

According to Michele, any similarity between the Gucci campaign and Auvray’s presentation is purely coincidental. The campaign draws from the film — not the fashion — world. “It’s about my memories, so movies from the 70s [including Star Trek: Lost in Space] that I saw many times,” he said. “It’s more about space, we have the robots, the aliens … I tried to work with Chris [Simmonds, artistic director] and the guys and Glen [Luchford, photographer] on strong characters.”

Logistically speaking, Michele couldn’t have plagiarized Auvray’s concept — first posted to Instagram seven weeks ago — given that planning for the #gucciandbeyond campaign began months ago. “[The idea] started in my mind a few months ago, because it’s big, big, big work, to organize everything,” held the designer.

To demonstrate his goodwill, Michele stated that he’d willingly meet with Auvray and clear the air. “Creativity [is] not about the fame. I mean, it could be possible that you are thinking something that is in the mind of someone else,” stated Michele. “The idea that I’m 45 doesn’t mean that I have no creativity. I’m like a student, it’s the same, it’s not a war!”

Auvray remains unconvinced. When BoF approached him for further comment, Auvray issued the following statement: “This is an aesthetic that I have heavily featured on my social media for a very long time … I intended to keep working on and make it a part of my graduate collection portfolio, [but] I will no longer be able to do it because I am just a student and Gucci has an international platform … Fashion has some really ugly sides and what happened to me is very sad but I am conscious that some companies [have done] even worse things to plenty of other young artists. But it doesn’t mean it should be normalized. Instagram and social medias are great promotion tools for us, I just wish these companies would not use them to steal our ideas.”

[ via Business of Fashion ]